By Christine Florio
One really fun aspect of creating healthy alternative recipes is experimenting with different kinds of options that taste delicious, satisfy the appetite, and intrigue clean eaters to continue living lean and fit! I always tell people that low carb does not mean no carb. It just means you’ll eat carbs in moderation, and only the healthy and beneficial kind, which can be found in natural, clean, whole foods.
Low carb also doesn’t mean low flavor or low interest. It’s actually really fun to explore different options for cutting out carbs. You just have to discover your favorite ways! There is a stigma that is often associated with a clean eating lifestyle, which drives many people to think that it’s boring, overly expensive, and obnoxiously time consuming. Today, I’m sharing my favorite low carb, healthy alternatives for breads and buns.
Once you begin swapping your regular breads, buns, and other often processed options for these easy-to-make natural options, you will open yourself up to an entirely new world of cuisine! These examples are sure to help everyone in their mission to stay low carb, low sugar, preservative free, and long term healthy. The ingredients are simple, the options are endless, and there’s something to satisfy anyone’s palate. Live healthy by enjoying these Fit Soul and Spice low carb sandwich alternatives!
Baked Eggplant Patties:
- Preheat oven to 375
- Peel a large eggplant.
- Slice horizontally into 1 inch thick patties, 2 per sandwich being made. Drizzle or brush both sides with extra virgin olive oil or melted coconut oil, and season with sea salt and ground black pepper.
- Spray a cookie sheet with coconut oil spray.
- Place eggplants on cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes, flipping patties about halfway through time.
- Remove from oven. Once cooled, use eggplant patties as the tops and bottoms of your sandwiches.
Potential fillings: tomato, fresh basil, mashed or sliced avocado, steamed sweet onion, sliced/baked sweet potato, thinly sliced baked or grilled turkey breast, roasted peppers, pan fried egg.
Banana Finger Sandwiches:
- Peel a large, ripe banana.
- Cut into ½ inch slices.
- Sandwich two slices with PB2 or almond butter and sprinkled cinnamon.
- Optional: Place banana sandwich bites on a cookie sheet, and bake on 325 for 3 minutes to merge flavors and warm cinnamon and PB2/almond butter.
- Eat by hand, or stick a toothpick through the middle for healthy finger food snacks.
- Carefully slice a large apple, top core to bottom core, into ½ inch discs, and use as the tops and bottoms to your sandwiches. Squeeze the juice of a lemon over slices and massage in to keep them from browning.
- Optional: Sprinkle with cinnamon and grill for two minutes on each side.
Potential fillings: PB2, almond butter, cashew butter, whipped coconut cream, blueberries, thinly sliced strawberries, sliced fig, chopped dates, honey, turkey bacon, fresh kale, fresh spinach, sprinkled Parmigiano-Reggiano, drizzled balsamic vinegar.
- Purchase a head of lettuce.
- Carefully peel to remove large lettuce leaves.
- Wash and open up to dry.
- Layer two lettuce leaves to keep strong and durable for handling,
- Fill with wrap contents down center of leaves.
- Fold each end over, and then wrap sides over until wrapped and secure.
Potential fillings: grilled chicken, grilled turkey, grilled shrimp, baked salmon, quinoa, corn, chopped mango, chopped tomato, bean sprouts, shredded carrot, fresh cilantro, PB2, freshly squeezed lime juice, mashed avocado, chopped raw almonds
Grilled Portobello Mushroom Caps:
- Remove stems from large mushroom caps. (Tip: keep stems to use in broths, salads, or other recipes.)
- Wash well and lay flat to dry.
- Brush each cap with extra virgin olive oil, garlic powder, sea salt, and ground black pepper.
- Grill on medium heat for 5-7 minutes on each side.
- Use caps as: tops and bottoms for sandwiches, as burgers, or as mushroom steaks.
Open Faced Avocado Sandwiches:
- Preheat oven to 425.
- Slice large, ripe avocados vertically (2 servings per avocado) and remove pits.
- Place avocado halves in a baking dish, greased with coconut oil spray.
- Crack an egg into each avocado half.
- Sprinkle with chili powder.
- Bake for 15 minutes, then remove and let cool.
- Optional toppings: sprinkle with diced tomato, chopped sweet onion, chopped raw or steamed mushrooms, or shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano.
- Instead of rice, use cucumber to wrap sushi and/or vegetables.
- Peel a large cucumber and discard.
- Using a vegetable peeler (wider ones are better) carefully peel an even strip of cucumber. Repeat until you reach center/seeds. Then, peel the other side. Avoid seeded strips because they will break when rolling.
- Place contents on one side of cucumber strip, about one inch from the end (sushi grade fish, turkey bacon, avocado, shredded/baked sweet potato, shredded carrot, etc.).
- Gently roll your cucumber strips, tightly wrapping in your ingredients.
- Serve with chopsticks as a meal or toothpicks as a finger food.
For more ideas like this, visit Fit Soul and Spice.
Enjoy and be well, clean eaters!